How to Watch, Listen, and More
When and where: Saturday, January 12th at the Carnesecca Arena
Time: 6 p.m. ET
Watch: CBS Sports Network
Radio: 570 AM WMCA (St. John’s), WIND 560 AM (DePaul)
DePaul and St. John’s have met 35 times in their programs’ histories. St. John’s has the edge in this game, with 21 wins to DePaul’s 14. Last year, DePaul won the road game in New York while St. John’s won the road game in Chicago.
The midweek slate of games in the Big East never fail to excite. This rings true for the ones that took place earlier this week, and the differing sets of fortunes for St. John’s and DePaul, who face off against each other this Saturday.
The week started off well for the Red Storm, finally earning a ranking in the AP Top 25 at number 24. Then came Tuesday night, as they hit the road against the Villanova Wildcats. Against the Wildcats, St. John’s ended up on the short end of the stick with a 76-71 loss. Despite initially starting the game off strong with hot hands on offense, the Johnnies wilted down the stretch and ended the game with more questions than answers over their play and depth on the roster.
On the opposite end of the spectrum was DePaul. The Blue Demons had off this past week, but did have rousing success over the previous weekend. The Blue Demons had sought their first Big East win after their first two tries went sour. A hot Seton Hall team came to town, and fortunes and luck would be on the side of the Blue Demons for once. They managed to sink the Pirates, 75-74. The win was helped in large part to Max Strus, who scored 21 points and hit five crucial baskets from beyond the arc.
As they hit the road again, it’s impotant to note that DePaul has not fared that well on the road this season. They have played three away games and have managed to lose all three times. Their opponents have averaged 81 points against the Blue Demons, while DePaul scored just an average of 68.7. It should also be mentioned that the opponents so far have been Villanova, the Northwestern Wildcats and Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
It has been a decent season so far for the Blue Demons, who so far on the season are sit 9-5 and 1-2 in conference play. They have averaged 76.7 points per game and have allowed 70.1 points per game. Their leading options have been Strus, Eli Cain, and Femi Olujobi. Strus though has been far and away their most important player. He’s put up 18.8 points per game, fifth best in the Big East. Things in the grand scheme of things could be looking up for DePaul this season.
On the St. John’s side of things, the Red Storm took a shot last game that left them exposed once again on the depth side of things. It could be a case that head coach Chris Mullin might be afraid to use more of his roster, unless it is in limited minutes at the tail end of games. But riding the starting five for the majority of the game has its limitations as well. Although it was a setback, it is still not enough to push the panic button on St. John’s season.
It was not a devastating loss, but one to maybe explore other options. It will be interesting to see what DePaul does to contain the options at St. John’s disposal. Naturally, the focal point will be Shamorie Ponds and his scoring prowess. But they should not ignore the fact that the other five starters can all have a big game at the drop of a hat.
LJ Figueroa and Marvin Clark II have been steady hands on offense, as has Justin Simon, who has stepped up in recent games and not just on the defensive side. In his last two games, he had he put up 14 points against the Georgetown Hoyas and 13 against Villanova. Mustapha Heron does need to get back on track as he had a poor game against Villanova midweek. Hopefully, this game against DePaul is the one where he’ll be able to find his focus once more.
Overall, this is a interesting game from the point of where both teams at this point in the season. A win would do wonders for DePaul in getting over their issues of playing on the road. It would also get them up to 10 wins on the season and up to .500 in conference play. For St. John’s, it could be a return to form, and hopefully a nice clean game instead of running the risk of trying to grind it out.
Still though, at the end of the day, it should be a fun one for fans and the neutral eye.